St Marys Mt & Druitt Standard
Riding the World For Charity
Interview and photograph
After surviving a high speed accident in Saudi Arabia and meeting the Dalai Lama in India, round the world adventurer Simon Milward was happy to be at St Marys last week.
Mr Milward is halfway through a six-continent motorcycle expedition to raise money for the world's disadvantaged people. In his travels he has been propositioned in Egypt, collided with a three wheel vehicle in Nepal and was barred from entering East Timor. The British motorcycle official said he still had about 100,000km to go before he completed the Millennium Motorcycle Ride.
"I left England on January 1 this year and have another 20 months to go," Mr Milward said on Friday. "I was in Singapore when I decided I had enough time to reach Sydney before the Olympics - I got here a day before the Opening Ceremony."
"On the way I hoped to visit East Timor in time for its first anniversary of independence. Unfortunately the militants in West Timor were planning to mark the anniversary by going on a rampage. The United Nations closed the East Timorese border, and Merpati (an Indonesian airline) flew me and my bike to Darwin."
Mr Milward said Australia's vast empty spaces were a stark change to lush crowded Asia. "Riding in Java takes a long time because there are hairpin turns everywhere but on Australian roads even a slight bend is a novelty," he said.
Mr Milward said one of the highlights of his trip was meeting the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet's dispossessed people. "I met him in North India where Tibetans were marking the 40th anniversary of their exodus," he said. "He's an amazing man, he's always smiling and he has an amazing belief that he will get his country back in his lifetime. He didn’t say which lifetime."
Mr Milward is the General Secretary of the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations and spends much of his time lobbying the 'Eurocrats' of Brussels.
He is travelling the world on a custom-made motorcycle with a 45litre fuel tank. "It has an 1100km range which I'll need if I cross the Gobi or Sahara deserts," he said.
Proceeds of his trip will go to Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Riders for Health program. To sponsor Mr Milward visit his website at www.millennium-ride.com or email him at
"Australians have a reputation of being generous to charities and I am surte people here will want to help such worthy causes," he said.